Winter Storm Juno: What to do when you have to work remotely

Snow pic - Alex - 1

View from the front porch of Alex Straffin, Everon’s Technical Services Manager.
That’s a lot of snow! (Jan 27, 2015)

Making the headlines today is Winter Storm Juno. While the storm didn’t bring in the massive snowfalls predicted, it did force thousands of employees to either take the day off or work from home, as transportation came to a screeching halt in many of the major cities.

What do you do when you are forced to work from home? Fortunately, as long as your IT department has invested in this scenario, you have options.

Snow pic - Brandon

A view from the window of Massachusetts-based Everon Project Engineer Brandon Hodgkin (Jan 27, 2015).

The biggest option most employees are given is to use a VPN. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It basically is a tunnel between you and your location to your office. When you join a VPN, you are routed to your company’s internal network, and from there you can map drives and access resources that are only accessible to you from inside the office.

VPNs are either offered internally, through an RRAS (routing and remote access server) or through a unit designed to handle the traffic (such as a Cisco AnyConnect device).

Another option you have, if available, is the use of a terminal server. Terminal servers are servers set up inside a company’s network. They allow multiple users to connect via remote desktop protocol and receive a fully functional desktop to use. When logging into a terminal server, you will be put onto a server’s desktop and will have access to all tools that have been previously installed on the server, such as Microsoft Office or Quickbooks.

Be aware that with a terminal server you are sharing the resources of a server with several other users, so you will be very limited to what you can do and where you can go. You should not be able to reboot the server or get to any administrative tools as a standard user.

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That white car belongs to Everon’s IT Project Manager, Simon Islam. Look at how much the tree limbs are weighed down — must be very wet, heavy stuff. (Massachusetts, Jan 27, 2015).

If neither of these are available through your company, and as long as you have permission, you can also use free remote software, to gain access to your actual desktop at your office. One such tool that I recommend is Teamviewer. You sign up for a Teamviewer account, and then install the software onto your workstation for unattended access (that will be an option to choose).

By doing that, Teamviewer modifies your machine to stay online and to keep a constant connection open, so when you leave the office, you can go to, sign into your account, and access your machine. It will open a window that puts you right on the desktop of your machine!

When using Teamviewer, be aware  that if you have your monitors on at work, everyone who is around your machine can see what you are doing. If you know you are going to use Teamviewer the next day, it’s a good idea to turn off your monitors before leaving work. (You will still have access to your machine.)

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As of 4 p.m. today (Jan 27, 2015), snow was still falling. Photo courtesy of Simon Islam.

These are the main three ways you can connect into your office remotely. Check with your IT department to see what they have available for you. Most likely they will allow one of these three. These are not the only ways to connect remotely — just the easiest and most common of the type of calls we typically get when a snowstorm shuts down a city.

For further information on how to connect remotely, and what your options are, feel free to contact Everon at 1-888-244-1748.

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I’d hate to have to be the one to dig out Alex’s car. Eesh! (Jan 27, 2015)


Server 2003 Countdown: 7/15/2015 - What is your plan?




Did you hear about how Microsoft ended support for Windows XP back in April? Know anyone who made a last minute scramble to upgrade (or hasn’t yet)? Or perhaps you heard about all those banks and ATMs still using Windows XP after support ended?

Microsoft has another looming End-of-life (EOL) approaching, this one for Server 2003—specifically July 15, 2015. This may not affect most users’ day-to-day operations, and you may be thinking, “That is months away, so why do I have to worry about that now?”

Unlike workstations, a server is central to your operating your business. It holds important (and probably sensitive) data not only for your company, but for clients as well. Server replacement is also more complex and requires budgeting and planning to help ensure a smooth upgrade. Or maybe now is the time to move your business into the cloud!

Either way, it’s best to be proactive and start the discussion with your IT department now. Similar to what we saw with Windows XP, there are a few key points to be aware of with the sunset of Server 2003:

  • Unauthorized intrusions. Users of Server 2003 will be at increased risk of unauthorized intrusions or virus infection, since Microsoft will be ceasing security patches and updates on July 15, 2015.
  • Lack of compatibility. Third party programs will eventually stop supporting Server 2003 in their updates and in their newer versions.
  • Limitations on performance. The older operating system is not as efficient using multiple CPU cores for multitasking and has RAM limitations that may be holding your company back.
  • Aging Hardware. There is a good chance your server is 5+ years old if it has Server 2003 installed. This is beyond the recommended 3-5 year life-cycle (and there is only a slim chance it is even still under warranty).

The clock is ticking. Make sure your company is not scrambling last minute to upgrade! If you need help with this, give us a call at Everon: 888-244-1748. Or email us at [email protected].


Seven Tips to Get the Most From Your IT Support Provider


American small business spend billions of dollars each year on IT support, yet most of them don’t have a thoughtful IT support strategy to ensure they are getting the most bang for their buck.  The following seven tips will help you get the most from you provider of technical support.

  1. Establish a relationship with a provider

Dig your well before you are thirsty.  Don’t just call an IT support provider when you have a technical support emergency; get to know one while sailing is smooth and build a stable relationship with them.  This will help them get to know you, your needs, and your systems during a time of relative calm, which is easier on everyone.  That way when you really do need them, they’ll be prepared and able to help you as efficiently as possible.

2. Treat your IT support provider like a part of your team

As a continuation of tip number one, treat your IT support provider as a part of your team, not just a vendor.  The more you are open with them about your goals, priorities, and concerns, the more they will be able to help you.  Show them the trust and respect of a professional, and they will bend over backwards for you.

3.  Be clear about your expectations

Every business has different needs and expectations.  Some can’t afford any downtime and are willing to pay to be up 24/7, while others are just fine if their computers don’t work for a few hours and don’t want to pay higher rates to ensure uptime.  Be clear about your expectations so your service provider can align their service and costs with your expectations.

4.  Let them monitor your systems

IT support professionals have access to amazing remote monitoring and management tools that let them do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.  These tools can monitor the health of your systems and alert your IT support team of a possible problem before it becomes a disaster.  This decreases costs and the likelihood of computer downtime.

5.  Find someone with experience in the hardware and software you use

You don’t want your IT support specialist to learn on the job while you are picking up the tab.  Find someone who has experience in the majority of the hardware and software you use.  At the same time, be realistic and understand that your technical support team may not have experience in everything you use; tell them that you’d like them to make the investment in learning the technology at their cost as a sign of commitment to a long term relationship with you.

6. Find a provider that does remote support

90% of IT support issues can be resolved over the phone or internet.  Find a service provider that is staffed to provide effective remote support so you can minimize the costs and wasted time associated with waiting for a service provider to drive to your office.

7. Find a provider that offers managed services

“Managed Services” is a term used by IT support providers to describe an ongoing IT management relationship with a client that generally includes the proactive management of the client’s technology (versus just reactively responding when something is wrong) for a flat monthly fee.  This combination of proactive services on a flat monthly budget can really benefit small businesses by removing some of the costly surprises that come with working with a service provider on an hourly basis.

Who You Gonna Call?


The Many Faces of Small Business IT Support
by Doug Ziewacz

Remember the movie Ghostbusters? If you don’t then you were probably living in a cave in 1984. While it’s been 23 years since the movie sparked the catchphrase “Who you gonna call? You can still bet that anybody within earshot will sheepishly reply “Ghostbusters.”

What about technology issues?

The Ghostbusters are the clear choice for paranormal extermination, but what about IT support? I recently posed the question to a friend of mine at a mid size professional services firm. Her answer surprised me… Find out why:

“I guess we call the help desk”, was her answer. “I call the help desk, but generally they’re really slow and unresponsive; essentially I call them and they never call me back.”

Maybe it’s my naïve nature to believe that most established professional services organizations have top-notch IT support immediately available, but sadly this is not the case. Small and medium businesses are more reliant than ever on technology, in turn requiring more attention to management and support. You would be surprised as to how many of these businesses do not know the best place to turn for proper support. In today’s technological world, the name of your IT supporter should roll off your tongue as naturally as “Ghostbusters”. Although IT support comes in all shapes and sizes, here are some of the ways small businesses are attending to their IT support needs. Do any of these sound familiar?

The Accidental Techie

The one person in the organization who knows just a little bit more about technology than everybody else. Their claim to fame is that one day they fixed the printer and now they are the “go to technology resource”. The trouble with accidental techies is that they actually have an entirely different job function to perform and generally receive no formal technology training. While the concept of the “accidental techie” seems like a good idea initially, it’s a disaster in the making. Joe the accountant is probably responsible for enough without the additional burden of supporting his entire company’s network. Accidental techies are often found in small organizations and non-profits with limited budgets. They simply don’t have the resources to suitably service all your company’s technological needs.

“Who you gonna call” – Joe the accountant.

The Hourly IT Consultant

Please allow me to introduce the Hourly IT Consultant. Similar to the cable guy, plumber, electrician, and anybody else who keeps you waiting for hours, he ultimately leaves you with a big bill and no idea if your problem has truly been resolved. Hourly IT consultants focus on fulfilling your basic needs, which at the time might be anything from “My network is down, come fix it” to “Please remove this virus.” People tend to call for hourly IT help because technicians are readily available and offer quick and easy solutions. Take caution- Keep in mind that as long as you are in a spot of difficulty, these guys still have a job. Hourly IT Consultants may take their sweet time to fix your issue, and then proceed to bill you for it

“Who you gonna call” – That guy who comes out to the office, fixes things and possibly exits with your company’s weekly revenue in his back pocket.

The In-House Person or Help Desk

Classic Scenario: Something is wrong with your computer and you are told to call the help desk. The following questions may be running through your head: Who is the help desk? What exactly do they do? Are they going to solve my issue or waste my time, ultimately pawning my matter off onto someone else? Most companies are drawn towards employing in-house help so that someone is readily available if unexpected issues arise. They fail to realize not only how costly this is, but also that it’s virtually impossible to match your company’s technological needs to the skills and expertise of one individual. While the concept of a help desk might be ideal in theory, they can end up causing more problems and confusion than they settle.

“Who you gonna call” – Ummm the Help Desk…I guess…

With the numerous types of IT support options available for small businesses, its hard to know which one will ultimately be the best fit for your company. Ask yourself which option best aligns with your company’s requirements concerning the following: technological strategy, corporate budget, short and long term aspirations, and overall goals. Unsure how to properly evaluate your company’s needs to answer these questions? Everon has helped hundreds of small businesses find the proper solution to their IT service needs. Allow us to help you change the way your company views technology by calling 1-888-244-1748 for more information.

Ask the people in your organization- “Who you gonna call?